§ Mr. Home Robertson
It is a completely different point of order, Mr. Speaker, but I must say that the words of the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw) were the most graceless and grudging apology that I have ever heard from anybody.
May I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, to do what you can to protect the rights of Scottish hon. Members to represent in the House the majority of people in Scotland? May I draw your attention to written question No. 286 in the name of the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart), who is in Strathclyde. We understand that the question is being used as a peg on which the Government can hang an announcement of selective action to cut£27 million from the budget of Lothian regional council.
In the past such action has been preceded by an oral statement in the House. As we have local elections in Scotland this Thursday, the Secretary of State for Scotland is apparently contriving to conceal the impact of this cut in services for elderly people and in schools in Edinburgh and Lothian by claiming credit for reducing rates. If there were to be an oral statement, Lothian hon. Members might be able to refer to the fact that Government cuts in rate support grant since 1979 are costing local ratepayers the equivalent of £1 a week for every citizen in the Lothian region. May I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that the Scottish Office can be subjected to proper scrutiny by elected Scottish hon. Members?
§ Mr. Speaker
That is not a matter of order; it is a matter of a question on the Order Paper. It may well be that what the hon. Member has said is right, but I have no knowledge of that. I am sure that those on the Front Bench will have heard it.